David’s Haunted Library: Monsters In Our Wake and Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt

Some people think of space as the final frontier but we have another unexplored area that is a lot closer to us. The deepest part of the ocean is still a mystery and who knows what kind of creatures live down there. In the deep waters of the South Pacific an oil drilling ship is about to find what lurks bellow and they will be very sorry they disturbed it. The ship lowers its drill into the territory of  a family of Nokkens who hate humans with a passion.

The Nokkens are more intelligent than humans think and in their minds its the humans who are the inferior creatures.  In retaliation for invading their space, one of the Nokkens attacks the ship leaving it disabled and thousands of miles away from anyone who can help. Now the humans are starting to turn on the lone woman on the ship, marine biologist Flora Duchovney Flora begins to wonder if the worst monsters are on the ship or in the depths of the ocean.

The first thing that sticks out about Monsters In Our Wake by J.H Moncrieff is that the book starts from the monster’s point of view. Right off the bat that made this book better than your average horror novel. The point of view shifts from the Nokken to Flora, to the members of the ship’s crew. The big question in this book is who really is the monster? The Nokkens, the humans, or both.

The who is the monster theme lasts throughout this book. We get to hear about how the Nokkens hate the humans because of the damage they have done to the ocean and its creatures. Another reason why the Nokkens think of humans as monsters is because they kill each other, which to them is insane. We see this start to play out on the ship as well when the crew become desperate. The Nokkens show how they can be monsters too though as they teach the humans lessons in respect.

Flora was my favorite character in the book because despite things being bad for her she is the strongest character. When things go wrong she takes the blame whether it was her fault or not and at one point she even gets labeled as a witch because the rest of the crew believes she summoned the monster. What I found most interesting about her though is when we see her having an anxiety attack as she wonders about how she will survive and get back to her son at home. Though when things get worse on the ship she does what she needs to do and has no problem with her anxiety.

There was a lot to like about Monsters In Our Wake, the book is a lot of fun. While it’s mostly a horror novel with a deep meaning to it, it has a little humor to it also. There are some unanswered questions about the creatures that I would like to know, but it didn’t take anything away from the overall story. The characters have a lot of depth to them, they are shades of gray instead of black and white. The Nokkens have done some terrible things to the humans, but also show compassion. On the other hand, some of the humans have shown that they have a heart but do some evil things as well. The only one who can be described as good is Flora and she comes across as the most interesting character in the book. Despite some minor flaws, this was an entertaining read and I’m hoping to read more from J.H. Moncrieff in the future.

Dorsal Finn is a strange place sitting on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Weird things seem to happen there and it has its fair share of odd characters. For one thing, there is a dark entity living under the bizarre little town and it seems to have created a magnet for people who have evil agendas. Luckily, 15-year-old Beatrice Beecham and her friends are on the scene and ready to solve mysteries and stop evil, dead in its tracks. Beatrice and her friends call themselves the Newshounds and they are a force to be reckoned with.

This adventure has its beginnings way back during World War 2 when two young girls rescue a German scientist who is working on an invention to change the world. The scientist didn’t survive the war but a part of him may have. Flash forward to the present, one of the young girls who saved him is now an elderly woman and is hearing the scientist’s voice in her hearing aid. Underneath the Dorsal Finn Library lies something that can change the world and someone sinister is looking for it. To make matters worse, an organization called the Blue Thunder Foundation is having a strange effect on the town. It’s up to Beatrice and her friends to figure out what’s happening in Dorsal Finn.

Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt by Dave Jeffery is a complex supernatural mystery novel aimed at a Y.A. audience. There is so much going on in the plot that its hard to describe it without leaving things out. This is a book that both adults and kids will like and it will really test your ability to pay attention. Because if you blink you will miss something. What I really enjoyed about this book was how the senior citizens and the kids work together to save their town. I also like that there is a historical fiction aspect to the book as it gets into the history of the Nazis and their dealings with the occult.

This book has several themes running throughout it and most appealing is the importance of friendship and how to deal with bullies. There were a couple of scenes where Beatrice and friends stand up to adult bullies and bully their own age. In one case the newshounds help a deaf girl who is being mistreated by the town bully and accept her into their group despite her differences. It doesn’t work out as they planned which was my favorite part of the book that I don’t want to give away, but the main point is that nothing keeps true friends apart.

The only problems I had with this book was I kept wondering if kids are really this nice, some of their conversations are so nice that it seemed unreal to me. Also, there was a point about half way through the book where I felt the author was adding way too many complex ideas to the story and he really needed to add a little suspense. The suspense comes though in the last third of the book as the story goes from historical mystery to action adventure. Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt is a good book to give to a teenager who doesn’t like reading. With the great adult and kid characters and the excellent story, it’s almost guaranteed to get a non reader to start a love of reading.

#NGHW News Episode 139

Hello, Addicts!

This week was super interesting on the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. On the horrifying podcast there was a twist to what, I guess, most of us were expecting from this competition. This week’s challenge was to write a horror blog post. The non-fiction horror blogspot was judged on blog-ability, topic and writing quality. We were only given snippets of the top eight posts. But what were given makes me want to read more!

  1. Horror Without Women by Naching Kassa
  2. Five Filmmakers changing the Face of Horror Cinema by Quentin Norris
  3. The Warrens Occult Museum – The Button Eyes of Evil by Riley J Pierce
  4. The Culture of Horror and The Horror of Culture by JC Martinez
  5. Horror Binge by Daphne Strasert
  6. Virtual Reality is revolutionizing horror by Harry Husbands
  7. The True Horror Cat Voluer
  8. Horror Addiction – Is There a Cure? Feind Gottes

The winner this week will be gifted the prize of being featured on Cemetery Confessions, a horror podcast hosted by The Count, who also happens to be our guest judge for the week.

The Count commands THE BELFRY NETWORK, which is a community website, blog, app and podcast which aims to bring us goths, HorrorAddicts, and other pretty little weirdos together.

Blogging is hard. But it is one of the many necessary evils that challenge writers of today. Writers can no longer be the recluse, vampiric (and sometimes, alcoholic) hermits they used to be. With so much out there, so many quality (and not) books being released, something has to make you stand out from the crowd. And a good blog, coupled with quality fan interaction, is often the way to do just that.

Blogging is a skill that takes practice and a successful blog is a creature that must be nurtured and tamed. So, having our fearsome fourteen write a blog post is a great way of showing how well they will cope with their future career.

Emz and Heather discussed briefly the pain of having to give writers bad news and judging them. They discussed how writers are forced to disconnect from their pieces and about how writers can learn, over time, which criticisms to take on and which ones to filter out. And how sometimes, a piece of writing may have been good but may not have been suitable for the audience. “No fluffy bunny posts,” said Heather. But I don’t think this means that we cannot try to stretch the genre boundaries.

Genre is a tricky beast and our genre – horror – is sweeping and vast. It is not just about the blood. It’s not just about the scare. It’s not just about the monsters or ghosts or madness. It is about the feelings horror instills and conjures inside us. Looking for new, genre-bending, fiction, in all forms and mediums, should be our goal.

So, back on topic!

This week Daphne Strasert and Quentin Norris were our runners up and their full horror blog posts can be read here.

And, the winner for this week is Harry Husbands! His piece on Virtual Reality playing a pivotal role in the future of horror films and horror fiction was the blogspot that won the judges’ favor. But, alas, you will have to wait until the 2nd of June, 2017, to hear the whole thing. It will be read and discussed on Cemetery Confessions. Congrats #teamharry!

Harry has his own blog as do many of our other contestants.

Adelle also has her own blog and she says, “I love blogging and I have been lucky that through blogging and communicating with other bloggers that my book Wisp has been promoted and reviewed. Also, I have some amazing blogs on my reading list, from the esoteric, horror, sci-fi and self-help. Along with lots of writers who support one another. Articles have helped me enormously in my own life as well as my writing life.” You can check out her here. You can also go check out what is inside JC’s head at Slimy Yet Tasty. Naching can be found lurking at the Frighten Me! Blog. And our dear, busy, Daphne has not one but two blogspots – Write As Rain and Daphne Reads X-men.

I feel like that is enough blogging about blogging for now, so go and follow us on the social media and join in the discussions. And, as always, STAY SPOOKY!

Hugs xxx

Adelise M Cullens

Kbatz: The Munsters Season One

 

The Munsters Debut remains Macabre Good Fun

by Kristin Battestella

 

Meet the lovable and naive Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) – a 150 year old green skinned Frankenstein’s monster – and his vampire housewife Lily (Yvonne De Carlo) along with their Grandpa Count (Al Lewis), unfortunately normal niece Marilyn (Beverly Owen, Pat Priest), and young werewolf son Eddie (Butch Patrick) in the 1964-65 Season One debut of The Munsters. Though often derivative, gimmicky, and of its time, The Munsters jam packs these first thirty-eight episodes with gags, wit, and slapstick brimming with Halloween mood. 
Fittingly, “Munster Masquerade” begins The Munsters with young romance and cross culture social clashes. These high society dames are worried about misspelling “Munster as Monster,” but the titular kin think an uppity masquerade party complete with King Arthur and Little Bo Peep costumes is horrifying! The Munsters establishes its series tone and now familiar tricks early, however, such gags and reverse quips – we weren’t dug up last night, put the color back in your cheeks, not letting the lack of rain spoil the evening – are part of the spooky, for the laughs charm. One might not expect much in these short twenty-five minutes or less run times, but the horror tropes, sci-fi humor, and lighthearted morals are surprisingly well balanced. The Munsters may not realize what they are, yet they make a point of being kind because they know what creeps regular folks may be. As a redo of the previous two test pilots, “My Fair Munster” is almost a bottle episode of mean neighbors despite that Munster friendliness alongside rectifying Marilyn’s old maid status with Grandpa’s mistaken love potion. “Rock-A-Bye Munster” adds self-awareness with a trick television and mini Frankenstein’s monster toys, leading to a witty case of mistaken pregnancy and the birth of the Munster Koach. The robot is hokey and the clash with truant officers remains unrealistic, yet “Tin Can Man” provides great funeral jokes and fatal quips before Herman falls asleep in the backseat as their car is stolen for a bank heist getaway in “The Midnight Ride of Herman Munster.” His innocence ups the zany plot twists, as he is surprised they want to go to the bank at dawn – it’s too early to be open – and he won’t speed in a 25 miles per hour zone when they leave. Likewise “The Sleeping Cutie” piles on the hypnosis humor, a pill that turns water into gasoline, sleeping potions, and a suitor named “prince.” What could possibly go wrong? Instead of a night picnic in the cemetery, the family braves the fresh air so Eddie can camp like the other boys in “Grandpa’s Call of the Wild.” Naturally, the trip spells disaster for Grandpa – who brings his electric chair outdoors and almost ends up in the zoo. The clan teamwork continues in “All-Star Munster” when Herman is mistaken for a basketball star by redneck visitors misunderstanding the comparably well to do Munsters, and “Bats of a Feather” fully introduces the family pets – Kitty with its lion’s roar, Spot the dragon under the stairs, and that “spoiled bat” Igor. Hey, why isn’t their temperamental raven in the cuckoo clock considered for the pet fair? I protest.

 

Herman’s detective school moonlighting and fun disguises raise Lily’s jealous suspicions in “Follow That Munster,” and the lighthearted marital discord carries over in “Love Locked Out” when Herman is sleeping on the couch until both separately go to a marriage counselor for inadvertently competing advice. Eddie finally has a friend over in “Come Back, Little Googie” but he’s an insulting, nasty boy trying to trick everybody, providing for The Munsters special brand of cruel versus kind lessons. Relocating to Buffalo for Herman’s promotion in “Munsters on the Move” wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t scare away potential home buyers – literally! Unfortunately, life insurance crooks are trying to kill Herman with on set accidents in “Movie Star Munster,” but such stunts don’t hurt him, forcing them to up their risks. Granted, there are scams like this practically every other episode on The Munsters – Herman always signs some kind of terrible contract in a quest for fame and fortune. However, the escalating trappings here are mad fun, and although diva Herman may be dumb enough not to read the fine print, but I’ll be darn he isn’t doing a scene if he doesn’t feel the character’s motivation! Fashion shows faux pas, a disastrous golf course, and snooty club members give everyone their moment in “Country Club Munsters” – complete with hatred and veiled statements reminding The Munsters how such bigoted people aren’t up to their kindly standards. “Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights” sees the family working both for and against a cad banker making moves on Marilyn just for the Munster gold, and say hey, Uncle Creature from the Black Lagoon pays a visit before a hilarious museum excursion leaves Herman locked in a sarcophagus for “Mummy Munster.” Women in the workplace jealousy anchors “Lily Munster, Girl Model,” and ridiculously fun Nutcracker spins and pirouettes have the whole family in on the magic act for “Munster the Magnificent.” Herman making friends and helping a little boy in “Yes, Galen, There Is a Herman” accents The Munsters with slightly serious Frankenstein movie parallels, and the eponymous boy’s disbelieving family takes him to a psychiatrist. Sure, today it is creepy the way Uncle Herman picks up a boy on the street and takes him back to his dungeon to watch Grandpa’s home movies, but the wink within a wink embracing fantasy versus destructive reality makes for a fine little finale on The Munsters debut.

Of course with so many episodes, The Munsters certainly has a few clunkers including the bickering couple using The Munsters for their own gain in Pike’s Pique” and the shocking townsfolk reactions and presumed to be celebrating Halloween excuses in “Family Portrait.” The harp and phonograph of “Far Out Munsters” are fun, as is the irony of The Munsters liking The Beatles despite being initially too old fashioned for rock n roll – “You know, they’re almost as good as Kate Smith!” However, although the Beatniks invading Mockingbird Heights accept The Munsters as all right, the capitalizing Fab Four covers miss the mark along with the ham radio and mistaken aliens of “If a Martian Answers, Hang Up.” Too many stunt episodes in a row like “Herman the Rookie” complete with Dodgers guest stars and get rich quick schemes like the desolate timeshare of “Herman’s Happy Valley” feel like we’ve seen this same old already. You don’t have to watch The Munsters in order, but when one tunes in for every episode, you know what you’re going to get. With so many one trick ponies, it’s somewhat amazing The Munsters lasted as long as it did, and the series also has numerous inconsistencies. The make up stylings are redesigned in the earlier episodes, and even the credits change halfway through this first season with Fred Gwynne moving from his last “and” billing to first. The juvenile crank speed running away in horror exits get old fast, and bungling cop jokes suggest more than a hint of Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis’ prior series Car 54, Where are You? The vampires on The Munsters adhere to no traditional undead rules, and how do a vampy wife and a monster man end up with a werewolf son, anyway? Throwaway dates, locations, and relations change from episode to episode with no clear show bible logistics. It’s no fun seeing so called regular folks trying to swindle the family, yet The Munsters relies on too many of these scam sitcom scripts when that contrast isn’t necessary compared to the titular topsy turvy perspective. Fifty years on, some jokes and pop culture references may not be understood by today’s audiences, and it is unfortunately very surprising to hear terms like wetback and gyp or Romani jokes alongside woeful Asian stereotypes in what is such a beloved and otherwise family friendly show. Honestly, I’m surprised these rare but jarring moments weren’t edited out for the video release.

 

Sure he works at a funeral parlor, however Herman Munster is a normal guy who wants his idyllic mid century family to be safe. So what if he’s a dunce at his might and stomps his foot when he doesn’t get his way. “Fiddlesticks!” is Herman’s go to exclaim, especially when he’s late for the carpool that picks him up in the back of the parlor’s Hearst – and he’s ticklish, too. Herman may crack the mirror – literallybut he’s more worried about his bills than being mistaken for the misspelled monster in the headlines crook of “A Walk on the Mild Side.” Always concerned about money, Herman tries a disastrous laundromat job in “Herman’s Raise” as well as wrestling on the weekends for extra cash in “Herman the Great.” However, he’s simply too sweet to be ruthless against the cheating competition. Herman won’t disobey a “Don’t Walk” sign but blows up the signal when he presses the button! Gwynne excels in solo physical humor scenes with few words as in “Dance With Me, Herman,” and he plays a suave lookalike in “Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie” complete with a British accent and monocle. Fearful, finger pointing mobs may be played for laughs on The Munsters, but Herman makes sure his kin isn’t involved with the nasty folks in town, and more looking through the window Mary Shelley motifs are made humorous when Herman tries dieting at Thanksgiving in “Low-Cal Munster.” Herman and his wife Lily sit on the couch together and read, rock on the porch together during a storm, have a beach date on a rainy day, and – gasp – sleep in the same bed! Lily’s pussycat is more handsome than that unfortunate Cary Grant in her eyes. Although the family fears her wrath and she does get annoyed at his bungling when Herman and Grandpa are mistaken for burglars in Halloween masks in “Don’t Bank on Herman,” Lily easily forgives. She’s a good mom, too – sewing Eddie’s doll and raising Marilyn despite her niece’s “flaws.” Lily cleans nine rooms and a dungeon, vacuums with a vacuum set to exhaust the dust, and cooks oatmeal, pancakes, and Herman’s favorite cream of vulture soup. She plays the harp, sleeps with her namesake flower, and in “Herman’s Rival,” the 137 years young nee Dracula does palm readings at the local tea room. Although her white hair streaks and make up design varies at times, Yvonne De Carlo (The Ten Commandments) is always delightful thanks to bat necklaces, a werewolf stole, tiaras, iconic gowns, sparkling taffeta coffin capes, and “Chanel No. 13.”

Likewise, Al Lewis is all in good fun as that charming 400 year old widower Grandpa. The Count – known to turn into a wolf himself – has a werewolf son named Lester and still loves him some ladies despite having had over one hundred wives and falling for a mail order bride scam in “Autumn Croakus.” Occasionally, Lewis breaks the fourth wall, and these talking to himself asides or sight gags add self-aware wit. Grandpa hangs upside down in the living room, takes his eggs night side up, and roots against the Angels. Yes, there are a lot of hammy Dracula cliches on The Munsters – Grandpa’s cape and widow’s peak alone – but there is always a lovable quip or two to match his cool basement laboratory, potions, wacky inventions, and the latest money making scheme up his sleeve. Grandpa watches television and soap operas are his favorite comedy, but he has a naughty streak, too – tempting Herman with trick pens or food when he can’t eat. Unfortunately, their bemusing bromance does suffer in “Grandpa Leaves Home” when the feeling unloved Count runs off to perform in an ill-received magic club act. Grandpa’s tricks aren’t as good as they used to be, and such endeavors always have hair-brained results on The Munsters. Child star Butch Patrick’s Eddie hangs with his Grandpa the most, helping him in the dungeon when he’s not howling at the moon or playing in the fireplace, that is. Wolf look and all, “Edward Wolfgang Munster” is a gosh darn cute little boy with his little short pants, knee socks, pointed ears, and Woof Woof doll. He’s so tiny beside the seven foot Herman and no bigger than the golf bag when he caddies for his dad! Fortunately, his small stature means Eddie can hide in the cabinet or other fun places, and he has a pet door where one can deliver his bedtime glass of milk. Although he plays baseball with the other kids, they often don’t believe his stories about the Munster household – which unfortunately seem to happen mostly without Eddie. I’m glad The Munsters isn’t Eddie-focused in a Beaver Cleaver gone Halloween fashion, and the series was in fact envisioned as a parody on Leave it to Beaver by producers Joe Donnelly and Bob Mosher. However, Patrick often only has one scene even when the episode’s premise starts with him, and he’s most often seen with his back to the camera at the family table. Eddie’s Nickname” is his only centric episode, but we do get to see his room in detail alongside nice father and son time and some moral lessons. Besides, today he would have a far worse nickname then “Shorty.”

 

She’s supposed to be Lily’s sister’s daughter, yet Marilyn’s mother is never mentioned by Lily or Grandpa, and her last name is still somehow Munster. Yeah. It’s somewhat sad that The Munsters’ normal blonde niece is so underdeveloped that the Beverly Owens to Pat Priest casting change in Episode 14 is almost completely unnoticeable. The Munsters does at least make good use of Marilyn’s repeatedly scaring away dates right from the start, and each unsuitable suitor gone is for the better as far as her Aunt Lily and Uncle Herman are concerned. The family pities her for being so “ugly” or “hopeless” and think she looks better with the bags under her eyes when she can’t sleep. They insist she stay in school and get an education because she’s only going to get a boy to like her for her brain! Marilyn does get a kiss in “Love Comes to Mockingbird Heights” – where we see her girly bedroom inside the left gable of the Munster Mansion complete with floral wallpaper, a canopy bed, and dainty furniture which Herman finds “distasteful.” Though never shown having plots or hobbies of her own and mentioned as being off studying when not included, Marilyn is briefly seen playing the organ and being Herman’s talent show magician’s assistant. She doesn’t desperately fall for every wolf on the make, either, and can tell when someone is suspicious. Most of Marilyn’s scenes, however, are with Lily, and it’s apparent the character really only exists as a soundboard for the wife at home. Like Eddie, Marilyn has one scene and few lines per episode. On the rare occasion they are alone onscreen, the cousins are still talking about others rather than having stories of their own. Marilyn has one shtick and one shtick alone, but it is a fun one, and the would-be con artists who knock on The Munsters’ door deserve to find this innocent and demure decoy. For sure, The Munsters has its fair share of famous and recognizable guests including postman John Fielder (The Bob Newhart Show) and Bewitched’s Paul Lynde in several episodes as Dr. Dudley. Batman’s Commissioner Gordon Neil Hamilton is here, too, with Bill Mummy (Lost in Space), Pat Buttram (Green Acres), Barbara Babcock (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman), Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show), Don Rickles, and more. I must say, I would have certainly watched a spinoff featuring John Carradine as Herman’s undertaker boss Mr. Gateman!

Although the drag racing creation of the Dragula roadster in “Hot Rod Herman” will conflict with the later Munster, Go Home movie plots and a regular car driven by an unseen ghost is seen only once early on, the aforementioned Munster Koach is always good fun. Likewise, the cowabunga theme music remains as memorable as the always recognizable Munster Mansion – a great television house that has appeared in other films and television shows such as The ‘Burbs and Desperate Housewives yet continues to inspire builders who want to live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Sure, the kitchen is kind of drab. The décor is too derelict trashy and hellllooo dust mites rather than fancy Gothic sophistication – at Halloween one always strives for the latter and ends up with the former! However, that candlestick phone in the indoor coffin phone booth is yes please, and let’s throw in some nostalgic bells and whistles such as that $2 with a 50 cent tip taxi cab fee for good measure. Secret passages, creaking doors, and cobwebs spook up The Munsters as do phonographs, candelabras, cool spell books, and creepy potion ingredients. I wish the series had been in color – if The Munsters had lasted for a third year on CBS in the 1966-67 season, it could not have remained black and white. Thankfully, the smoke, fog, bubbling cauldrons, poofs of dust, and objects moving by themselves benefit from the eerie grayscale palette while setting the spooky Halloween funhouse atmosphere. Although the uneven sound is perhaps understandable, the laugh track and cutesy music effects feel like an intrusive insecurity today. The Munsters is a funny show, and the audience gets the puns a minute without the canned response – and we prefer our own spontaneous chuckles to being told we are too dumb to know good comedy when we see it. The pet jokes are much more fun on The Munsters thanks to some surprisingly not bad special effects. Not only are those opening stairs cool, but Spot’s flames and pyrotechnic gags, Kitty’s lion roar, wolf or animal filming, and bemusing bat work accent the horror humor. As to that grouchy cuckoo clock raven voiced by Mel Blanc…want!

All the mid-century so-called fantasy sitcoms have their gimmicks, and The Munsters is at once of its time with simplistic plots, stock character tropes, and lighthearted happy family motifs in costumed dressings. Too many episodes in a row can be tiring or annoying when every half hour seems the same. Fortunately, the very affordable Complete Series DVDs add to the fun with actor spotlights, behind the scenes features, unaired pilots and color versions – treats not available on current retro channel airings or streaming options. The Munsters uses every trick at its disposal to crank out its weekly humorous horror wheelhouse, and ironically, any derivative hang ups also make this debut easy to marathon for a weekend. Viewers can pay attention or casually tune in for the best gags or leave Herman, Lily, and the gang on to occupy the kids. Let the delightful family frights of The Munsters Season One play for a harmless party or Halloween mood any time of year.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: James Pyne

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is James Pyne who took some time to tell us about the book and his writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

“Blood Will Have Blood” is about a large clock pendant once owned by the White Rabbit and now is the property of Alicia Henderson. This particular clock has a large appetite for blood. Without it, it stops ticking and if it stops ticking really bad things happen.

What inspired the idea?

Once I read the submissions guidelines for Clockwork Wonderland, the image of the original Alice hanging from a tree branch popped up and it went from there. I’ve been a Wonderland fan for years so this was right up my alley. I’m excited to be part of this anthology!

When did you start writing?

It all started with Hardy Boy books. One day I was walking home from elementary school reading a “A Figure in Hiding,” volume 16 in the original Hardy Boys series. I was bad for reading while walking home and it made me a target for bullies. One such bully blindsided me as I was walking across a wooden bridge arching over a brook. He pushed me on the snow and was ready to punch me silly until seeing my Hardy Boys book next to us. He started bashing my face with it, shouting how he hated people who read and how the only people he hated more was the people who wrote the books. He warned me I better never write or he’d cut my hands off. I didn’t listen and still have both my hands. That bully did me good in the end. I’d thank him if I could.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Dark Fantasy and Horror are my comfort zones but I occasionally stray into other genres from time to time.

What are some of your influences?

I’m all over the place when it comes to my influences. John Gardner (Grendel. Sunlight Dialogues. The Art of Fiction). Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Knut Hamsun. Margaret Atwood. Sade. And tons of others. In the dark fantasy and horror fields: Karl Edward Wagner, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Lucy Taylor, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson. William F. Nolan. Harlan Ellison. H.G. Wells. One of my favorite short stories of all time is “Evening Primrose” by John Collier. We’ll give life in general and family and friends and strangers, especially creepy ones, the rest of the credit for my influences.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

There are no limits if you’re willing to go there. I don’t live by the belief there’s nothing new under the sun. There’s always new ways in scaring people because we as a species find new ways in hating and killing each other and come up with new inventions that need to be scrutinized and exposed in the horror genre. I love the fact horror can be graphic but the best kind, in my opinion, is the kind that hits home no matter how fantastical it might be. I love everything about horror. Shades of horror can be found in the greatest literature. The dog hung by a handkerchief from Wuthering Heights is a perfect example. More times than not, you’ll find some form of horror in the greatest literature. Some kind of fear that hits home hard like a baseball bat to the face.

What are some of the works you have available?

To be honest, after many years of learning the craft, I just started submitting back in March 2016. I was slaughtered the first few months. Then my first horror story was published in James Ward Kirks Ugly Babies 3 anthology in May. Early June 2016, Dorthy Davies of Thirteen O’Clock Press gave me the best critique I could ever get. She showed me where I was going wrong and sixty-three published stories later, I haven’t looked back. This isn’t bragging. This is a shout out to anyone out there that doubts their art; don’t. You can do this. And if an editor takes time from their valuable minutes to bitch slap you awake, embrace it. Don’t run away from it.

What are you currently working on?

I have two novels on the go but haven’t visited them much due to flooding the market with short story submissions. I’m trying to make up for lost time and make new friends in the horror field along the way. But this month I’ll be working on both books. The first, Big Cranky, is a mythological soap opera and has a little of everything, from Lucifer to Death and his lovely wife Santa Muerte, with almost every pantheon of gods and goddesses throughout the world. It’s been a wild ride to write and you know what, it’s time to get back on. The other novel I’m working on is Woe, a very graphic horror novel with, I hope, a unique heroine who’s forced to adapt if she wants to survive in my version of Hell.

Where can we find you online?

The best place to keep updated on me is my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jjamespyne  Feel free to add me, everyone.

LIVE Tweet – Watch Alice with us and win! May 20th.

Join us on Twitter
for our LIVE TWEET EVENT

May 20th, 7-9pm PST
@horroraddicts13

In celebration of our new Alice-influenced Clockwork Wonderland book,
We’ll be watching
Alice, Through the Looking Glass
And tweeting our thoughts, suggestions on how it would be scarier,
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Clockwork Wonderland

From HorrorAddicts.net Press: Authored by Emerian Rich, Ezra Barany, Jaap Boekestein, Sumiko Saulson, H.E. Roulo, K.L. Wallis, Michele Roger, James Pyne, Jeremy Megargee, N. McGuire, Laurel Anne Hill, Jonathan Fortin, Stephanie Ellis, Dustin Coffman, Trinity Adler
Foreword by David Watson

Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.

Nightmare Fuel – Leap Castle

Hello Addicts,

This week we take a trip to one of the most haunted locations in Ireland, Leap Castle.

Located in Coolderry, Ireland, Leap (pronounced Lep) Castle was built around 1250 A.D. by the O’Bannon clan, secondary chieftains of the territory under the ruling O’Carroll clan. It is the O’Carrolls who are closely linked to most of the castle’s brutal history. One such event occurred in the 16th Century when a fierce rivalry for control of the clan erupted. A priest named Thaddeus was conducting mass for his family in the chapel. Without warning, his brother, Tiege, burst into the room and drove a sword into his back. Thaddeus fell across the altar and died while his family watched. It is his ghost, considered to be one of the oldest reported in Leap, that continues to be a regularly reported sighting in the chapel.

Another bloody aspect of Leap Castle is tied to a small room discovered in 1922. Hidden in the corner of a secret dungeon, just behind the “Bloody Chapel”, is a hole big enough for a human body to fall into. At the bottom was a pile of skeletal remains impaled upon wooden spikes. They are believed to be a combination of prisoners and unsuspecting guests of the O’Carrolls, tossed in and left to die for entertainment. It took three carts to empty the remains found in the pit.

Yet another story of the O’Carroll clan’s brutality within the castle walls involved a dinner party thrown by members of the McMahon family. The McMahons were a family of mercenaries hired to train the O’Carrolls in improved fighting techniques. Unfortunately, instead of payment, the McMahon clan were all poisoned at a banquet held in their honor. Their ghosts are also reported to haunt the castle.

Perhaps the scariest part of Leap’s history is one with the least human connection. Reported by one of the later owners of the castle, Mildred Darby, is a primitive nature spirit called “The Elemental”. Mildred, a known dabbler in the black arts of magic, described the creature as being the size of a sheep, with an inhuman face, decomposed black cavities for eyes, and smelled of rotting corpses. Some have speculated if the malevolent spirit was drawn to the castle by the dark acts of the past or the magical practices conducted at the time.

These are but some of the stories surrounding the Leap Castle, with many others waiting to be shared. In fact, it is one of a few locations I intend to visit should I ever find myself exploring my Irish roots.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis